CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Brad Craddock has been erratic at best through his first season in college football. Well, it’s his first season ever playing American football after learning to kick from Australian rules football. But with Nick Ferrara sidelined during the preseason with what ultimately regressed into a season-ending hip injury, Craddock became Coach Randy Edsall’s starting kicker.
Friendly and charismatic with that lovable Australian accent, Craddock has shown promise, hitting field goals of 49 and 52 yards against Wake Forest. But he also missed an extra point and a 33-yard game-winner last week against N.C. State.
So after he went wide left again on a 35-yard attempt in the first quarter Saturday against Boston College, walk-on Brendan Magistro began warming up on the sideline, and took field goals with holder/punter Nathan Renfro on the field after halftime. Craddock, meanwhile, found himself relegated to kickoff duties.
A Maryland native, Magistro converted on both extra point attempts and drilled a 28-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Eagles lead to 13-10.
“I feel bad for Brad, but it’s one of those situations where you have to put the best people on the field,” Edsall said.
The Terps lived with Craddock’s inconsistencies, confident he’d overcome the learning curve and continue improving each week. But in every game except one in which Craddock has attempted at least one field goal, he has missed exactly one field goal.
Magistro certainly hasn’t displayed the leg strength, at least in a small sample size during pregame warmups, to be counted on with longer attempts, but he at least aced his debut test on the road. Craddock is 4 of 6 from at least 40 yards this season, so it’s possible that Edsall could consider a two-man kicking rotation, relying on Magistro for shorter field goals and extra points while keeping Craddock’s leg fresh with kickoffs and trotting him out to attempt from distance.
In either case, Edsall knows that the Terps can’t keep giving away points in the kicking game, or elsewhere for that matter, especially when three of Maryland’s four losses have come by a combined eight points.
“We had those guys kick this week, and after that one I felt … there’s three points right there,” Edsall said. “We just can’t keep giving away opportunities and points and expect to win.”